Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 April 2021) . . Page.. 987 ..
Dementia is identified as a risk factor for elder abuse, and the Age-Friendly City Plan also contains a number of actions to increase the extent to which older Canberrans are able to live safe, secure and free from abuse. Just this week, the passage of the Crimes (Offences Against Vulnerable People) Legislation Amendment Act 2020 means that elder abuse will be a criminal offence, sending a strong message to the community that it is unacceptable, and providing additional protections to those people who are most at risk.
In addition to actions identified in the plan, in July 2020 the ACT’s first specialist dementia care unit opened at Uniting Eabrai in Weston. The facility is funded by the commonwealth government, under the specialist dementia care program. It is delivered in partnership between Uniting Eabrai and Canberra Health Services, with administrative oversight of the National Partnership Agreement provided by the ACT Health Directorate. I also note the parliamentary agreement’s inclusion, in Appendix 4, of the support for the neighbourhood to secure land for Canberra’s first dementia care village—something for us to work towards. Ms Lawder also raised the issue of the mental health of older Canberrans and the fact that social inclusion is an integral part of improving mental health in older Canberrans. I could not agree more.
In addition to the actions in the Age-Friendly City Plan, there is an initiative currently underway to develop a whole-of-government resource to support improvements to the ACT government’s communications and engagements with older Canberrans. This is also why we have a Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing, who provide key advice to government on matters of importance to older Canberrans. Extensive consultation has been undertaken for the development of the Older Person’s Mental Health Strategy and Implementation Plan, including valuable feedback form the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing.
We are committed to progressing Canberra as an inclusive city in which everyone is valued and enabled to take an active role. Being dementia-friendly is part of the creation of an inclusive city. We will learn from and build on the work that has already been progressed as part of the Age-Friendly City Plan, to act on the shared responsibility across government and community to build an inclusive city and a better normal for all of us, including people with dementia. So I support the call for the ACT government to investigate how to make Canberra a more dementia-friendly city, and my amendments to the motion will ensure that these findings will be progressed with the Age-Friendly City Plan and be recorded in the Assembly.
I move the amendment to the motion:
“Omit (2) (b) and (c) and substitute:
“(b) progress these findings within the Age-Friendly City Plan 2020-2024 actions; and
(c) report these findings as part of regular annual reporting on the Age-Friendly City Plan 2020-2024.”
MRS KIKKERT (Ginninderra) (4.09): I thank Ms Lawder for bringing this very important motion before the Assembly today. I note that according to ABS data,